I have never spent so much time outdoors as I have in this past month (and I have had dogs, for over a decade, who get walked up to four times a day). And what I have realised is perhaps not exactly groundbreaking but, boy, the outdoors is so good for your soul. Sunshine helps for sure but that fresh air literally breathes life into you. So here are some super simple tricks I am using right now to encourage myself to embrace the outdoor life even more.
1. Open the doors (or get those windows open wiiiiide). It is not rocket science but if it is warm enough, my doors are open. The air flows right in from outside and there is no barrier stopping me from stepping out into it. So I do. A lot more often.
2. Plant herbs. Whilst my patio is something of a work in progress right now, the small step I have taken to brighten it up was to add some terracotta planters on the back step. Rather than filling them with the usual shrubs, I planted them up with rosemary… a lot of rosemary. And you know what? I find myself out there all the time plucking rosemary for cooking, for jugs of water, even for gin and tonics. If you’re a city dweller, try a window box which will encourage that open window policy.
3. Barbecue. It is a super quick and healthy way to cook your food. I am absolutely embracing the barbecue this season and trying out a tonne of different recipes because barbecues can be so much more than just burgers… And somehow vegetables seem to taste so much better when the skin is charred and smokey (cherry tomatoes, courgettes, aubergines, corn, baby leeks, cauliflower – seriously, I don’t think there is a vegetable that doesn’t barbecue well). Trust me, try it.
4. And while you’re cooking outside, eat outside too. The best way to maximise your outdoor time is to match it with mealtimes. I often find I am working indoors (laptops and sunshine are hardly besties) without much spare time in the day but a girl’s gotta eat… so I do it outside. And it truly feels like such a treat.
5. Ditch the tv. If it is daylight I promise you, you are bound to find something way more interesting outside than you will in that black box. I love going outside with Hunter, pointing out all the plants, playing on the swing and listening to the birds. And guess what? He loves it too. I binge on a good tv series as much as the next girl but I save it for after dark (and yeah, I realise that this poses problems in summer when dark doesn’t come until 11pm… I am working on that).
6. Get comfy with a capsule basket. I keep the outdoor essentials just by the back door so we can hop outside whenever we fancy without having to rake around cupboards for beach towels. What I will tell you is to create yourself a little outdoor capsule basket with your blankets and cushions… what I actually have is an capsule ‘heap’ stashed behind the armchair (which is criminal considering how many baskets I have – job for tomorrow). Either way, having those essentials to hand makes it so much easier to grab and go whether it is a go to the garden or even the nearest park.
I am sure there are a tonne more tricks to get yourself over that threshold and outdoors more (I mean at least walking for ice-cream shoulda probably made the cut right?)… but these are at least a good starting point. So go forth, embrace the fresh air – you will thank yourself for it I promise.